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Are old cars and senior drivers a recipe for disaster?

When your aging loved one invests in a car, they expect to make it last. Rather than chasing bells and whistles, they are likely looking for something that will stand the tests of time.

In addition to investing thousands into buying and maintaining a car, they may also have some sentimental attachment to their vehicle. While they may be able to afford a newer (and safer) car, they may not see a reason to make a change.

Here are a few reasons older cars are not a good fit for senior drivers.

Keep driving longer

The older your loved one gets, the more difficult it is for them to be a safe driver. While technology and safety features are not a replacement for good driving, they can be a valuable supplement for someone who is getting older.

Vehicles with safety features like lane departure warnings and blind-spot detection can help aging drivers stay safer on the road.

Safety improves all the time

Vehicle safety has come a long way since cars saw their first feature in 1921. Interestingly, the first safety feature was the headrest to reduce whiplash in a collision. Features like the seatbelts and antilock brakes would not come until much later.

Now, each new model comes with ways to make your loved one’s drive safer. The latest models have features such as:

  • Reinforced frames
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rearview cameras

While it is not necessary to buy a new vehicle every year, driving a car that is less than four years old is significantly safer. A study that looked at crashes in Florida found that drivers over 70 were more likely to be driving cars over 15 years old.

Talking to your loved one

Your friend or family member may not be ready to give up their independence. It can be challenging to tell them that they are getting too old to drive safely.

When you have these conversations, it is important to start bringing up the issue before an accident so that your loved one has time to process the information. They may need time to consider their driving skills and how they can adjust to a less independent life.

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